Luis stared in amazement as he watched Sheridan trying to keep the kid from grabbing stuff. “What’s going on?” he asked, eyeing the girl.
“Luis, you have got to help me,” Sheridan puffed. “I offered to help out at the shelter the other day and they put me in charge of Sandy here, but I have a meeting with Julian this morning, and I can’t watch her. Can you take her with you in your car for a little while?” she pleaded.
Luis laughed. “I don’t know, Sheridan. Tagging along in a police cruiser is not the safest place for a kid.”
“This is Harmony, Luis. What ever happens here?” she pointed out.
He shrugged. “You have a point. OK, I guess a few hours won’t matter.” He leaned over and kissed her gently. “This is going to cost you.” He grinned.
“Oh, I was hoping you would say that.” She smiled deeply and kissed him again quickly before turning toward her young charge. “I have to go. See you soon. Luis will take good care of you.” She touched Sandy’s shoulder.
“Whatever!” the girl retorted and looked around, bored.
Luis rolled his eyes and waved as Sheridan headed out the door. He turned to Sandy. “Ready?” he asked.
She stared at him for a moment. “Can I drive?”
Luis laughed. “Yeah, right. Let’s go. I need to grab a coffee from the Book Café first though.”
Sulking, she followed him to the car, grabbing a pen from his desk as they walked by.
Julian stared out the window of the Book Café. Sipping the hot coffee warmed his stomach as he waited for Ben Master, his lawyer and friend, to join him.
Fifteen minutes later, the door swung open and Ben sauntered in.
“Finally, I have been here for half an hour,” Julian said.
“Well, I was…busy.” Ben grinned.
Julian eyed him curiously. “Did you get the papers all drawn up?” he asked.
Pulling up a chair, Ben sat down, signaling the waiter to bring him coffee. “Yes, Crane Industries will never be the same again.” He laughed.
“Well, let’s hope not. The last thing I want is for the Crane name to continue in the footsteps of my father.” Julian sobered at the thought of Alistair Crane. “Why don’t we head over to the office and get that all settled then?” He got up from the table and ordered another coffee to go.
In Raleigh, North Carolina, Eve tossed in bed, unable to sleep. When Julian was away on business, her days were never very good, even though Evan, their one-year-old son, kept her very busy. She hated their time apart, even if it was only for one day. “Hurry home, my love,” she whispered into his pillow.
Darien stood and looked down on Eve hugging her pillow. He smiled
A sudden rushing wind ruffled his cloak. “What is it?” he asked, turning to face Gabriel.
“She is to pray. Pray for Julian,” the Seraphim replied, “immediately!” He gave Darien a nod and disappeared.
Darien approached Eve’s bed. His huge frame towered over the bed as he reached down and touched her shoulder. “Pray for Julian,” he said.
Eve sat up in bed. She looked around the room, unsure what to make of the sudden uneasiness that had come over her.
Again, Darien reached out and this time struck her lightly in the side. “Pray for Julian,” he said, urgency creeping into his tone.
‘Pray for Julian,’ she thought, placing her hand on her side. A moment later, she knelt beside her bed and began to pray for her husband’s safety.
Julian and Ben stepped out of the Book Café and entered
a small alley that led to the rear parking lot where their cars were parked.
“So, what was it that kept you this morning?” Julian glanced at Ben and grinned.
“Well, I …” Ben started, and then stopped abruptly when a young man jumped out from behind a dumpster, wildly waving a gun at them.
“Give me your money, or you are both dead!” he shouted.
Julian and Ben dropped their briefcases and held up their hands in surrender.
“Now, you fools,” the man insisted.
“I left my money clip at home,” Ben frantically whispered sideways to Julian. “All I have is my credit cards.”
Julian cleared his throat nervously. ‘Jesus, please help us,’ he prayed. “I have only a few dollars in my pocket,” Julian said to the thief.
The gunman pointed his gun at him. “Well, that’s too bad for you,” he snarled as he pulled back the hammer of the gun.
Luis parked the police car behind the Book Café just short of the alley. “You wait here; I will run in and get a cup of coffee.” He opened the door.
Sandy looked at him and grinned. “Sure,” she replied, reaching out and pressing buttons on the dash.
“Hey, stop that. This is not a toy. You can’t…”
The police siren began to wail as she fooled around with the controls.
“Stop!” Luis screamed above the noise.
At the other end of the alley, Ben, Julian and the gunman jumped when the police siren went off, followed by Luis’s screams. Dropping the gun, the would-be thief took off past Julian and Ben.
When the siren stopped, Julian and Ben shouted for Luis to come.
Racing up the alley, Luis stopped short when he spotted the gun on the ground. “What is going on here?” he asked.
“Someone just tried to rob us…and I think he was about to shoot Julian,” Ben said, his face pale and his body shaking from the close call.
Julian breathed a prayer of thanks. “It’s a good thing that siren went off. Who knows what might have happened?”
“Weird how that just happened,” Ben replied, breathing deeply to try to calm his rattled nerves.
“Yeah, I am watching this kid for Sheridan. She turned on the siren and lights. I guess she saved your skins, gentlemen,” he said as he picked up the gun with his handkerchief and un-cocked it. “I am surprised it didn’t go off. You guys are very lucky.” He turned and headed back to his car.
Ben and Julian stared at each other for a moment and then, still shaken, headed toward their cars.
“I think I am going to call Eve,” Julian said, unlocking his car.
“I’ll meet you at Crane Industries,” Ben replied and drove off.
Eve reached to pick up the ringing telephone. “Hello.”
“Eve, it’s me.” Julian smiled, loving the sound of her voice. “I just wanted to call and tell you that I love you.”
“Is everything OK, Julian?” she asked.
“Yes, why do you ask?” He stared at a butterfly floating and fluttering its wings in the warm breeze.
“I don’t know; I just had a weird feeling that I should pray for you earlier. I wanted to make sure you were OK,” she said softly.
Julian, having not wanted to tell her what happened, decided to do it anyway.
When he finished telling her about his close call, they both thanked God together for looking out for them.
“Well, I have to run, my love. I will be home tonight,” he promised. “I love you, Eve.”
“I love you too, Julian. I can’t wait for you to get home.” She smiled into the phone, kissed the air noisily for him, and then hung up.
At 9:30 p.m. Eve heard Julian’s truck pull into the garage. She dropped her book and rushed to the door, throwing it open before he had a chance to touch the door handle.
Julian dropped his briefcase and swooped her up in his arms, his lips seeking hers. Kissing her passionately, he hugged her tightly against him.
Eve’s arms slipped around his neck, pressing closer, enjoying the nearness of him. A few minutes later, she pulled back. “I missed you so much!” Tears welled up in her eyes.
Setting her back on the floor, he wiped a stray tear from her cheek. “I missed you too, so much…and our son.” He smiled. “Is he still awake?” He looked into the house.
“He’s been sleeping for a couple of hours now,” Eve replied, holding his hand as they headed up the stairs to Evan’s room.
Together, they watched Evan sleep, so innocent and peaceful.
Julian slipped his arm around Eve’s waist and hugged her to his side. “I am a blessed man,” he whispered into her hair, kissing the side of her head.
Eve smiled. “I feel the same way, Julian.”
A few minutes later, Eve fixed Julian a light snack, while he sat on a bar stool leaning his elbows on the island in the middle of the kitchen, watching her. “A pleasure I have come to enjoy so much, watching the woman I love make me a sandwich.” He smiled.
“You’ve been spoiled.” She looked up and grinned.
“Well, let’s change all that, shall we?” He got up from his stool and approached her. He took the knife from her and grabbed a piece of bread. “Let’s see, do you want butter, mayo or mustard on yours?”
“I ate already,” she replied.
“Oh, come on, you aren’t going to let me eat alone, are you? Besides, I really want to make you one.” He pouted good-naturedly.
“All right, I’ll eat with you.” She smiled, leaning over to kiss him.
When their sandwiches were made, Julian opened a bottle of wine and grabbed a couple glasses. “Let’s go watch a movie while we eat,” he suggested.
Eve led the way to the den and waited for him to pour them some wine. He sat on the sofa and stretched one leg out on it, while planting the other on the floor. He patted the sofa in front of him.
Eve smiled as she placed the food on the coffee table and then sat down next to him, leaning against his chest, with both of her legs stretched out in front of her.
Julian wrapped his arms around her and hugged her tightly. He pressed his lips into her hair and kissed her head. “Friday night has always been my favorite time of the week.” He smiled against her head.
“Yeah, mine too.” She hugged his arms closer around her.
They watched TV for awhile and ate their lunch.
Sipping her wine, Eve said, “Whitney called today.”
“Yeah?” Julian asked, taking a sip from his glass.
“Well, she wanted me to talk to you about something.” Eve sat up and turned to face him.
Julian placed his wine glass on the coffee table in concern. “Is everything OK?”
“Yes.” Eve placed her hand on his chest, playing with his shirt. “You know she and Chad are getting married in a few weeks.”
“Well, she has decided to invite TC,” Eve said slowly.
“He did raise her. It is only right, I guess,” he said softly, caressing her cheek with his finger. “How do you feel about seeing him again?” he asked.
Eve sighed. “I don’t know. I spent many years with him. He is no longer in my heart, but I am a little nervous about it,” she admitted, casting her eyes down.
“Well, don’t worry about it, my love. I will be right there with you, supporting you.” He turned her eyes up to meet his.
“Whitney also wanted me to tell you that she has decided to ask TC to walk her down the aisle.” Eve met his gaze.
Julian exhaled. “I thought we had been getting closer this past year, but I understand that she still thinks of him as her ‘father.’ I wasn’t there for her when she needed me, and he was. So I won’t interfere with what she wants.” Julian pulled a relieved Eve into his arms.
“I know how much you love Whitney, Julian. I am sorry that you will be missing out on such an important part of her life.”
“Don’t worry about it, my love. There are some things that I can’t change, and one of them is the fact that TC was a good father to Whitney, and she wants to honor him with the part he played in her life. I respect that.” He smiled at her concern.
“Well good, but you are her father. I wish you had this honor.” Eve caressed his cheek.
“It’s OK, really. I’ll be fine, and Whitney will be a beautiful bride.” Julian grinned. “I can’t believe it - our daughter is getting married. Come to think of it…”
“Hmm?” She raised her eyebrows with a smile.
“She is the first of my children to get married.”
Eve laughed and leaned against his chest again. “Yes, it’s going to be a wonderful day.”
“There is something I want to talk to you about as well, Eve.” Julian sat up, pushing her back slightly so he could look at her.
“What is it?”
“I want us to move back to Harmony.”
“What? Why? I thought you wanted us to live here,” Eve said, confused.
“I do, but not all the time. We can come back here every weekend, but I need to be in Harmony to run Crane Industries…and I certainly don’t want to leave you here all by yourself.”
“Well, can’t someone else run it?”
“Today I signed half the company over to Sheridan…so she will be involved, but there are so many things we need to change - things that Father did, how he ran things. It’s just going to take some time,” he explained. “I am also having the mansion redone, so it will look nothing like the way it does now. We will have a new home to move into, no reminders of the things that went on there…well, there is one particular room I want to keep remembering.” He grinned.
“Which?” she asked blankly.
“Well, the room where we spent that wonderful night when we created Evan.” He smiled, leaning over to kiss her.
“Oh, yes. Who could forget?” Eve laughed.
“Also, you can go back to work, if that’s what you want. You don’t have to, of course, but we can get a full-time nanny if you do.”
“I have been missing work. I would love to work again, but I don’t want to leave our son.”
“Well, I am sure daily visits to the hospital can be arranged.” Julian smiled.
“When do you want to do this?” she inquired.
“As soon as the mansion renovations are complete, and that should fall right around the time of Whitney and Chad’s wedding, so everything will work out great. They can have the wedding at the mansion if they want.”
“That would be great.” Eve smiled happily and then yawned. “I am tired. Why don’t we call it a night and get up to bed?”
He raised his eyebrows mischievously. “Sounds like a great idea, Mrs. Crane.”
Getting up, Eve laughed. She pulled him up with her, leading him to their bedroom.